Every student should graduate high school prepared for success in college, career and civic life. Unfortunately, our ability to deliver on this promise has been compromised by 40 years of underinvestment in public schools.
Resources that were standard in previous decades have been reduced or eliminated while rising costs limit what we can provide our students, our staff, and our communities.
If we want to meet our responsibilities to the next generation of Californians, adequate funding must be restored so that we can reduce class sizes, retain and recruit quality educators, expand college and career courses, support Special Ed, increase the number of counselors and nurses, expand the arts and STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math), expand mental health resources, increase school safety, and increase facilities repair and maintenance.
That is why we are joining the California School Boards Assn., the California Teachers Assn. and other education organizations in the fight for public education. On May 22, we will gather with thousands of other Californians at the State Capitol to demand that legislators prioritize education and provide full and fair funding for our public schools.
This is no ordinary rally — this is a decisive moment in the fight for full and fair funding of California public schools. The momentum for full and fair funding is growing rapidly as more people confront the fiscal crisis faced by districts across the state. Years of neglect have tarnished the reputation of California’s school system and, for a state with the fifth largest economy in the world, this is unacceptable.
If California supported schools at the national average, funding would increase by $1,961 per student. For a classroom of 24 children, that’s an additional $47,000, for a school of 500 students, it’s nearly a million extra dollars annually to support student learning and improve school conditions. In Burbank Unified School District that would raise over $29 million. That would make a world of difference for our schools and help turn the promise of a high-quality education for every student into a reality. It’s high time we restore the luster of a public school system that was once the state’s crown jewel.
Steve Frintner is clerk of the board, Burbank Unified School District; Diana Abasta is president of the Burbank Teachers Assn. and Matt Hill is the BUSD superintendent.